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A Moidart man has been scaling the dizzying height of Mount Everest in his own back yard to raise funds for Mallaig Pool and Leisure (MPL) Centre.
Jim Michie climbed Ben Roshven 11 times over 11 days, 30,500 ft, to surpass the height of the world’s highest mountain, raising more than £2,000 in the process.
‘When I saw the pool’s JustGiving appeal for funding due to their financial difficulties related to the lockdown closure, the idea just popped into my head that I could maybe help out by doing a fundraiser,’ said the 67-year-old fitness advocate.
‘I decided to walk up the mountain behind my house as many times as it would take to ascend the equivalent height of Mount Everest from sea level.’
Jim was accompanied by his family and friends on a few of the walks but mostly did them on his own.
‘I enjoyed every walk and experienced a variety of weather conditions,’ he added.
‘There weren’t many times I got a view from the top as there was thick mist and rain on many of the walks on the higher area of the hill, but when the mist cleared, the views were magnificent.
‘My target was £2,000, which I’ve surpassed now which is fantastic, and I really appreciate the encouragement and generosity of everyone who has donated to such a good cause.’
Brought up in Caol and Banavie, outside Fort William, Jim moved to the Lochailort/ Roshven area of Moidart and was involved in the salmon farming industry for more than 20 years. In 1998 he moved into tourism, restoring an old navy harbour launch and started Loch Shiel Cruises, based in Glenfinnan, on the Road to the Isles, a busineess he ran as owner/operator for a further 20 years.
Two years ago he retired and sold the business and has been messing about on boats ever since.
‘The boating operation was quite physically demanding and to keep the body going I started going to Mallaig Pool and Leisure Centre where I started training for their annual triathlon,’ he added.
‘With the help of staff, friend and ex-crew member of my boat on Loch Shiel, Colin Morley, who has just opened up the new WolfHouse Gym in Fort William, I’ve kept up the training.
‘The current Covid virus situation stopped the training, due to closure of the Mallaig Pool, and I had been doing regular walks on the hill behind my house in Roshven, so it made sense to start raising funds.
‘The centre provides an invaluable service towards the health and wellbeing of the folk living in a wide geographical area, and especially in teaching young people how to swim, which is essential in this coastal community of lochs and rivers.
‘I’m pleased to have been able to help out.’
MPL is currently trying to raise £5,000 as part funding towards an offer of £10,000 by the local Moidart Trust to help with essential finance.
Anyone wishing to donate can do so at the Mallaig and District Swimming Pool JustGiving page.